Caught by the Fuzz

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"Caught By The Fuzz"
Single by Supergrass
from the album I Should Coco
B-side "Strange Ones" (7")
"Caught by the Fuzz (Acoustic)" (CD)
Released 24 October 1994 (UK)
Format CD, 7" single, Cassette
Recorded Sawmills Studio, 1994
Genre Britpop, pop punk
Length 02:17
Label Parlophone
Writer(s) Gaz Coombes
Danny Goffey
Mick Quinn
Producer(s) Sam Williams
John Cornfield
Supergrass singles chronology
"Caught By The Fuzz"
(1994)
"Mansize Rooster"
(1995)
Alternative Cover
Backbeat Records release

"Caught by the Fuzz" was the first single by Britpop band Supergrass.

Background[edit]

Supergrass had released "Caught by the Fuzz" and "Mansize Rooster" as singles on Backbeat Records, which sold out quickly and gained the interest of record producer Sam Williams, who then offered to record some demos of the band's other songs at Sawmills Studio. These acclaimed demos attracted major label interest, and after an A&R scrutinised gig at the Jericho Tavern in Oxford, they managed to secure a deal with Parlophone. Despite being a new and obscure band, critics welcomed Supergrass as a voice of youth, in part because they were so young, but also because their music was fresh, exuberant and fast-paced. Even before being signed to a major label "Caught by the Fuzz" had been put at number five on John Peel's Festive 50 of 1994. Although Supergrass had not been around long, they were named Band Of The Month in FHM after only two singles on Parlophone, and were supporting acts such as Blur, The Bluetones and Shed Seven.

Music and lyrics[edit]

The song is written around the true-life incident of lead singer Gaz Coombes' arrest and caution, for being caught in possession of cannabis at the age of fifteen.[1][2] One of the members of the Seattle rock band Presidents of the United States of America said with regard to "Caught by the Fuzz": "This song is exactly what being a teenager sounds like.[3]"

Reception[edit]

The single just missed out on the Top 40 by reaching #43 in the UK Singles Chart, but failed to chart in the United States.[4][5] The song was also notably included in John Peel's Festive 50 at number five at the time of its release in 1994.[6]

On one occasion Supergrass played "Caught by the Fuzz" on Top of the Pops via satellite.[7] The film pictured Mick Quinn wearing a T-shirt with Hugh Grant's mug shot printed onto it (this was around the time Grant was arrested for lewd conduct with a prostitute[8]), which suggested a connection with the actor and the theme of the song. This was probably a response to the band being denied permission to use the photo for the cover of "Caught by the Fuzz" (See Single Artwork below for more.)

During one performance at Leicester University Ball, Supergrass convinced a real policeman to introduce the song.[9]

On a final night of supporting the Foo Fighters in Europe, Taylor Hawkins of the band joined Supergrass to play the drums on "Caught by the Fuzz". In an interview on the DVD accompanying the Supergrass Is 10 compilation, Danny Goffey recalls Hawkins playing the drums "at about 500 miles per hour".[10]

Versions and release history[edit]

The single was initially released in August 1994 on Backbeat Records, with a limited number of copies pressed (it is believed that more copies have been pressed since Supergrass signed to Parlophone), on only a 7" vinyl format.[11] "Caught by the Fuzz" was on the A-side and "Strange Ones" the B-side. They are, however, both slightly different versions from the ones that can be found on later Parlophone releases). In 1994, before appearing on their debut album I Should Coco, the song was released on an EP by the Fierce Panda label, entitled Crazed and Confused.[12]

"Caught by the Fuzz" was used as the closing theme tune of the 2007 movie Hot Fuzz, and features on the official soundtrack album.[13]

The sleeve cover is a black-and-white caricature of a policeman pointing his finger accusingly, encapsulating the idea of being 'caught by the fuzz'. A mug shot of Hugh Grant was originally intended to be the artwork of the United States single sleeve, but the idea was later dropped after Grant's lawyers complained[14][15]

The video is a montage of footage of the band, onstage and offstage, filmed on a Super 8 camera.[16] It was also the directors, Dom and Nic's, first ever music video.

The video for the single appears in the Beavis & Butthead episode "Sprout" (1996).[17] There is also an alternate version of the music video, which was released in the US using a collage of footage of Supergrass in America instead. There is an unofficially released video for the acoustic version of the song as well, which was filmed in the same fashion as the original video, but uses different footage and adds some scenes of Morris dancers.

Formats and track listing[edit]

Backbeat 7" single

  1. "Caught by the Fuzz (Alternate version) " (2:14)
  2. "Strange Ones (Alternate version) " (3:56)

CD single

  1. "Caught by the Fuzz" (2:17)
  2. "Strange Ones" (3:39)
  3. "Caught by the Fuzz (Acoustic)" (3:02)

7" single / Cassette

  1. "Caught by the Fuzz" (2:17)
  2. "Strange Ones" (3:39)

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1994) Peak
position
UK (Official Charts Company)[18] 43

Personnel[edit]

References[edit]